Lib­er­ty and Appren­tice Square Off at Virginia Duals

The top-2 teams from last years NCWA National Championship competed in the 39th Annual Virginia Duals held at the Hampton Coliseum on Friday and Saturday.  Liberty finished 4th while Apprentice finished 6th.

The Apprentice School was seeded 5th overall and took on #4 seed NCAA-D2 Alderson Broaddus in the first round.  The Builders "upset" the Battlers 29-16 with wins from 125-Messick, 133-Johnson, 141-Ty Boyd, 149-Allen, 165-Simmons, and 285-Cortapasso.

Liberty University was seeded 6th overall and took on #4 seed and soon to be NCAA-D1 program Long Island University - Post in the first round.  The Flames were down 18-0 before winning a match but fought back to a 26-16 final score against the Pioneers.  Winning for Liberty were 157-Burgette, 165-Ely, 197-Amos, and 285-Johnson.

In the semi-finals, the Builders faced #1 seed NCAA-D2 Kutztown University.  It was a one-sided affair with only Kolin Johnson winning at 133-lbs.  Losing in decisions were 125-Messick, 141-Boyd, and 165-Simmons.

The Flames faced Greensboro College (NCAA-D3) in the first round of consolations winning decisively 34-12.  Recording wins for Liberty were 125-Lester, 157-Burgette, 165-Ely, 174-Karel, 184-McIlhenny, 197-Amos, and 285-Allen.

By winning that dual, Liberty would face Apprentice in what many believe will be the finals for the NCWA National Duals in 2 weeks.  Colton Messick would quickly get Apprentice on top 6-0 with a pinfall over Jeffrey Lester at 125.  Kolin Johnson would increase the score with a forfeit for the Builders at 133.  Trey Templeton would then increase the lead a bit more to 15-0 with a hard-fought 9-7 decision over Charles Hudson of Liberty.  Chad Cantrell was the first to get the Flames on the board with a 12-3 major decisoin over Tyler Allen making the score 15-4 Apprentice.  At 157, the Builders' Tristan Mabe scored a fall over Carter Ellis upping the score to 21-4.  At 165, Chad Simmons added to the lead with a 2-1 decision over Luke Ely of Liberty making the score 24-4 Apprentice.  Those were the last points the Builders would score, however, as Liberty would go on a 5-match run to steal the dual away.  Cody Richmond won 9-3 over William Heath, Josh McIlhenny pinned Jeremy Moseley, and Austin Amos pinned Jacob Heyde.  In the 235-lb weight class, returning champion at 197 Ross Graham bumped up for Apprentice and lost 6-1 to Jefferey Allen.  Dominick Johnson closed out the match with a 14-0 major decision over Peter Cortapasso.  Final score: Liberty 26 Apprentice 24.

In the final matches of the day, both Liberty and Apprentice would face their 1st round opponents again.  Liberty lost to LIU-Post 36-7 notably providing some backups with a chance at matches at the Virginia Duals.  Apprentice also lost to Alderson Broaddus 35-12 with a slightly changed lineup.

For more info on the Virginia Duals, click HERE.

The Builders will host the Builder Invitational on January 20th.  Both teams will then make their way west to Mesquite, Nevada to see if they can meet up again, this time for a title.